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Critical thinking principles

Apply some of the critical thinking principles we’ve covered in this course to a
“real world” argument. First, find an argument in print, perhaps a newspaper or magazine column, editorial, or
letter to the editor. The argument must have been published within the last year. Write a brief essay in which
you evaluate the argument as presented. Your essay will include a clear thesis which states whether the
argument is compelling or not and why. You will do some or all of the following:
-Determine what the issue is, and the position on the issue: what response does the writer want from the
-Examine the writer’s sense of audience. Whom is the writer addressing, and what does he or she assume
about this audience?
-Identify reasons presented in support of the writer’s position:How strong are the arguments?Are there any
unsupported claims? What assumptions does the writer make?Are there any explanations or claims about
-Identify uses of rhetorical devices Consider tone: watch for uses of humor, irony, etc.
-Is anything missing from the argument? Is the writer ignoring something important?
Clarity and brevity are virtues in this assignment. Your essay’s introduction should probably include a brief
summary of the argument. Do not argue for or against the position the writer takes; simply evaluate the
argument. Important caution: Make sure you choose an argument, not a news article.
To Find an Argument:
Go to the website of a news organization
Click on the link to the ‘Opinion’ section
Choose an argument
Pick an issue you’re at least a little familiar with. You have to judge whether this argument is good or not, so it
helps if you’re not totally ignorant of the facts.
Pick something short enough to evaluate in a brief paper.
Make sure to note the basic background details—who wrote it, where and when it was published (remember: it
has to be published within the last twelve months!).
You can pick a good argument or a bad argument: that’s up to you.